For marketers, here’s why it’s worth getting tangled in Vines

In the movie, “There’s Something About Mary,” Ben Stiller’s
character picks up a psychopathic hitchhiker who shares his brilliant idea to
one-up the popular eight minute abs exercise video by creating a new exercise video: seven minute abs.

Brilliant indeed…until it isn’t. As Stiller’s character points
out in a natural follow up question, “That’s good. Unless, of course, somebody
comes up with six minute abs. Then you’re in trouble, huh?”

This example – minus the psychopathic hitchhiker – is
increasingly relevant for technology companies, startups, and really any brand
evaluating how video and photo-sharing apps should fit into their PR and
marketing campaigns. The mass-market adoption of Twitter (140 character limit),
Vine (six second limit), and Instagram (15 second video limit) should not be lost
on organizations marketing to and engaging with consumers and customers.

While there exists healthy skepticism when it comes to
hopping on to the social media flavor of the week, services such as Vine and
Instagram are worth taking seriously. For technology companies and startups evaluating
the most effective ways to capture the attention of existing and potential
customers, there are tangible reasons that video – short-form video in
particular – can improve brand awareness and perception, as well as sales.

Reality marketing
trumping fantasy marketing

Slate writer Farhad Manjoo makes a compelling case
that as the quality and usability of mobile video capture increases, the value
of static photo images decreases. Manjoo offers that, “I think that video
allows more nuance in the trade-off between presenting fantasy and capturing
reality.” Manjoo’s point is brands increasingly find that selling reality is
more powerful than trying to sell fantasy. While a company or consumer will
often take a photo that painstakingly tries to capture fantasy (the perfect
sunset on a vacation or an artistically plated dessert), videos even as short
as Vine’s six second cap can communicate a story – and in some cases a back story
– in ways that photos cannot.

We increasingly see reality marketing at work as brands
encourage customers to submit videos evangelizing or using their products and
services, and companies should ensure reality marketing is a two-way street by which
authentic videos are shared back to consumers in a highly relatable way.

Consumers and
customers lack attention span

We can analyze the popularity of services Vine and Instagram
a thousand different ways, but it will often come back to the simple fact that
consumers have short attention spans when it comes to both consuming and
creating content. In my recent article
for The Hub sister publication PR Week, I referenced an experiment conducted by
Manjoo regarding how far site visitors read into his articles. Turns out 38% of
his readers landing on the article page do not even read the story, and that
most visitors finish about half of the article.

None of this is to say that long articles and videos cannot
be interesting, but facts are facts: and rather than spending considerable time
producing long-form content, it is important for brands to recognize the amount
of time today’s individual is spending with a piece of content – and adjust
their marketing accordingly.

Short-form videos transforming
customer service

Organizations spend a significant amount of time, money and
resources developing creative marketing campaigns that leverage new social
tools, but far less time innovating with these tools for customer service. This
is a contributing factor to what social media expert Brian Solis referred
to as “The Perception Gap”: the gap between what customers want and what
executives think they want. Solis was building on a 2012 Pivot research report,
which found that 59% and 58% of social customers wanted to engage businesses to
share feedback and to receive customer service respectively; yet, only 37% of
marketers believed these services to be in demand by customers.

This gap can and should close. Honda’s national Summer
Clearance Event earlier this year is a perfect example
of how Vine can be used to change how customers think about customer service
interaction.  On July 15th
Honda encouraged consumers to tweet why they are sick of their old cards, and
then company and dealer representatives responded to actual, individual tweets
with Vine videos. Brandchannel tallied that the word “Honda” received
approximately 247 million impressions in a 48-hour period, along with nearly 15
million Twitter impressions.

Text is good, photos are
great, but videos can be better

Not
all multimedia innovation is confined to 15 seconds or less. The leadership team
at startup gui.de,
which includes social innovator/digital strategist Leslie Bradshaw, has built a
product enabling users to transform online news and blogs
into a video experience that can include avatars as “TV anchors” personalizing
how you consume online news. Gui.de is wagering that consumers of news
increasingly lack the time or interest to peruse text articles, and will prefer
a more customized, dynamic video experience.

Vine
and gui.de do not represent the end game for video tools available to
marketers, the same way that there will surely be new photo presentation and
sharing tools that capture consumer attention as Pinterest and Instagram have
done. For technology marketers and startups, that is a good thing,

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